New program launched Saturday with free event at City Hall
The City of Austin today launched the International Welcome Program with a free orientation session at City Hall. The event helped international newcomers feel more comfortable with local schools, law enforcement, public transportation, finances, housing and more.
Representatives from City agencies, as well as partners from the Austin Independent School District, Capital Metro and other organizations, provided valuable information to new residents such as how to connect utilities, how to register children in schools and use of the public transportation system. Attendees also visited with non-profit organizations that provide services to international newcomers.
The orientation session is the first event hosted by the City’s International Welcome Program, a new initiative designed to ease the transition to life in Austin for international newcomers. The effort also includes an ambassadors program, which matches newcomers with Austinites who can answer their questions about life in Austin and show them what our community has to offer. A second orientation, for Spanish speaking newcomers, will be held at 10 a.m. on March 2 at the Oswaldo AB Cantu/Pan-American Recreation Center, located at 2100 E. 3rd St.
“Austin’s cultural diversity enriches our community and our economy depends on our immigrant population: almost a quarter of our tech start-ups were founded by foreign-born entrepreneurs,” said Natalie Betts, the City’s Acting International Economic Development Program Manager. “We want to make sure that new immigrants feel welcome here and are aware of resources in the city that can help with the transition to life in the United States.”
The program also comes with a new online international calendar and information portal InternationalAustin.org, developed in partnership with GlobalAustin. It features a calendar of international events, a newcomer’s guide, and feature articles about Austin residents who are engaged in international activities. The website is currently in beta stage and will have its full launch in mid-February.
City of Austin International Economic Development Program
The City of Austin International Economic Development Program is housed within the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office and is dedicated to promoting Austin’s position in the global marketplace to create a sustainable cultural and economic environment for the community that enhances the livability and economic vitality of Austin.
GlobalAustin is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen international bonds and friendships by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and cultural symbiosis through appropriate training programs, community activities and a host families program.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701